What are some obstacles that Montag had to overcome in Fahrenheit 451?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Montag has a variety of obstacles to overcome.

After Guy Montag meets Clarisse (his new and unusual teenaged neighbor), his eyes are opened to a world he has forgotten. She asks important questions rather than just passing from one place to the next like a robot. This is at first perplexing for Montag: when she asks him if he is happy, it really catches him by surprise. For him, it becomes an important question, and along with thinking about it, he considers other things she has pointed out and decides to embrace a new pathway to self-discovery rather than continuing with his meaningless, repressed existence in a society that expects no one to ask any questions—let alone important ones.

Montag starts to save books and his wife finds out. Rather than running and hiding from this, Montag actually exposes his secret to Millie's friends by reading poetry to them. He makes a connection with Faber to align himself more closely with other "book lovers." And when Beatty finds out from Millie that Guy has books, he goes to Montag's house to burn it down. Montag has to take a stand—alarmingly, and in an unexpected burst of fury—Montag kills Beatty who seems almost to taunt his co-worker to his breaking point.

Finally, when Montag's murder of Beatty is reported, law enforcement is out to get him—the manhunt to find him is massive. Montag has a choice: he can give himself up, let the Mechanical Hound take him down, or he can take a chance and try to find a new life with others who also wish to honor and preserve the knowledge within books. In an exciting escape, with the robotic dog literally nipping at his heels, Montag throws himself across the last stretch of ground at the river's edge; he lands in the water—and the Hound loses Montag's scent. Though his future is uncertain, he is following the road on a journey he began with Clarisse: he wants to memorize the contents of books, and work with others to rebuild society. It seems that for the first time in his memory, Montag actually feels alive.